Tuesday, July 31, 2012
Today's Reading: John 12: 9-19
**For a simple and good way of Daily Devotion method please click this link: Subject Shifting Devotion.pdf.
Please click this link to read John 12: 9-19
There is a very important historical background in this passage that many people do not know. N.T. Wright gives us perhaps the best explanation I have ever heard. Here is his finding:
Although it's the wrong time of the year, the symbols of Jesus' entry into Jerusalem go with Hanukkah - which John has already mentioned in 10:22(The feast of Dedication). When Judas Maccabaeus defeated the pagan invaders and cleansed the Temple in 164 BC, his followers entered the city waving palm branches in celebration (1 Maccabees 13:51; 2 Maccabees 10: 7, these books are from Apocrypha, for more information about Apocrypha please click the three links as follows, the first is in English, the other two are in Chinese: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Biblical_apocrypha, http://zh.wikipedia.org/wiki/次經 , http://a2z.fhl.net/Deuterocanon/Deuterocanon15.html ) . Now, even though it's in the spring, not mid-winter when Hanukkah is celebrated, Jesus' followers wave palm branches to welcome him.
We don't have to look far to find out why. Hanukkah was when Judas and his family became kings of Israel. Jesus and his followers were, so to speak, bringing together Hanukkah and Passover. They were saying both that Jesus was the true king, come to claim his throne, and that this was the moment when God would set Israel free once and for all. The ride on the donkey, with its echo of Zechariah 9:9, makes the same point. And John adds other echoes of prophecies and psalms which all point in the same direction. Jesus is the true king, coming at last to set his people free.
I do hope N.T. Wright's message gives you a clearer picture of what was really happening in this passage. Most people at that time welcomed Jesus as the king coming at last to set them free. But, in their terms, just like another Maccabaeus, and not on Jesus terms, the Cross!
How well do you welcome Jesus into your life as Savior, Lord and King? In what terms do you welcome Him?
Have a time to be still and give the Holy Spirit space to speak through the passage of scripture we have just read. Offer this time up to Jesus as you listen to him, while listening to "Gabriel's Oboe"
What I heard from Jesus today is: Your King is coming to set you free!
The message I received from Jesus today is a joyful welcoming of Jesus that He comes to set us free. On the other hand, it is also a deep thought in our souls that Jesus wants to challenge us by saying, "In what terms do you welcome me to come as a King to set you free? Your terms or my terms? If you welcome me, you welcome the Cross, the servanthood but not the kingship, the lordship! I am the way, the truth and the life. I am the light of the world. I am your Lord! Follow me to the Cross to be free and to set others free!"
Dear Lord Jesus,
I am willing to follow you to the Cross to be free and to set others free. Lead me, change me and teach me. In Jesus name we pray. Amen.
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